Paul might use the synagogues later (see Acts xvii. 2, where ‘as his manner was’ is significant, indicating a deliberate strategy). If the references had been purely to teaching and discussion conducted by the Apostles, this argument might have passed muster. But Acts ii.46 and iii.1 suggest orthodox Temple worship by the infant Jewish-Christian Church. Obviously, therefore, any rift with the Temple was not of their deliberate making. They were prepared to remain true Temple-worshippers even under persecution. Johnston (p. 61) is quite right when he says that although at first some were able to remain within the national fold of Judaism, yet ‘the logic of their position led to a rupture with their fellows.’ True, but until the days of Paul, the force of the logic does not seem to have been appreciated at large from the Christian side; Jewish logic was clearer than that of the Christians. Admittedly, individuals within the Church seem to have grasped the true position at least as early as the days of the ‘Seven.’ Nevertheless, it is inconceivable that the Church as a whole at this stage should deliberately invent or teach Sayings or doctrine which would hasten this breach which it obviously neither sought nor welcomed. Modern ecclesiology sees the break with Judaism as inevitable, but there is no warrant at all to be found in Acts for saying that it was equally ‘inevitable’ to the eyes of the early Church. It is not, therefore, permissible to argue that, although neither seeking nor welcoming the breach with the Temple, the Church yet foresaw its inevitability, and therefore felt free to teach doctrine which would necessitate this as a logical conclusion, unwelcome as it might be. The only possible explanation left is that the infant Church continued to teach what it regarded as the authentic Sayings of Jesus, simply because they were treasured as Dominical utterances. Neither their full meaning nor their logical implications were as yet grasped, and therefore there can be no ‘tendentious’ reason for their preservation, let alone fabrication. In view of the reluctance to split from what must have been still regarded as the ‘parent body’ of Judaism, such a view as the last would be ludicrous, to say the least. Indeed, it may possibly be that this reluctance to force a breach is the reason for the omission of the two adjectives in the first Gospel, which, psychologically at least, precedes the ‘great schism,’ as truly as do the opening chapters of Acts.

 

from page 18, The New Temple